Two days ago, my son built a fire for my three kiddos to burn all their school papers from this last school year. It made them feel pretty good about getting rid of all their classwork and to be able to take a break and start fresh again in the fall. We could have easily had them put their papers in the recycling bin; however, there really is something cathartic about throwing it in the fire pit and using it a fuel. I guess it makes it final because once it is burnt up, there is no going back and retrieving it. In fact, I may throw those ashes in my garden. As part of my "Unprepared" study, I've been looking at Gideon's call to lead Israel out of the Midianites' oppression. In the verses I am looking at today, God calls Gideon to burn something detestable to God in order to rid it from the Israelites. Please use the link and read Judges 6:25-32.
Now that Gideon fully recognized and understood God's voice, notice how he responded to God's call to destroy the alter to Baal and the Asherah pole. He didn't question it, he just obeyed. I love that because what God was asking him to do was something that had the potential for serious consequences. In order to understand the significance of Gideon tearing down the pole and alter, I want to go back to the beginning of Gideon's story; please use the link and read Judges 6:7-10. These were the gods of the Amorites and the worship of these gods not only stole the honor the Israelites should have been giving God, but they also required terrible practices such as child sacrifice. The other thing that I want to point out is that the alter and pole were on the property of Gideon's father, which gave him easy access to tear them down.
Think about this part of Gideon's story in relation to yourself. Jesus told us that it would require a different kind of sacrifice in order to follow Him; we needed to sacrifice the things that took His place. In Mark 8:34-35 (NLT) Jesus said, "Then, calling the crowd to join His disciples, He said, 'If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.'" What we see in Gideon's story is a tangible way to give up and sacrifice the things that come between us and God. But the thing that I think is awesome is the fact that God had Gideon use the wood from that Asherah pole as fuel for the sacrifice to God! It was such a final statement that the worship of Baal and Asherah was done. With the pole used as fuel, there was no way it could be taken by someone and erected again. There was no guessing that it fell over by accident - this was real and final.
If there is something that is coming between us and God, He is going to want us to sacrifice it as preparation for our call. But, God wants it to be permanent. He doesn't want any remnants to remain for us to pick up and erect at a later time. Think of burning the things that don't belong as fuel for the good things that God planned for us.
What is God telling you to tear down in your heart? Are you willing to let God burn it up?
This post is linked with Faith Filled Friday.